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Thousands of protesters marched in Washington, D.C., on Sunday in a “Defeat the Mandates” rally against mandatory vaccination orders and heavy-handed regulations over COVID-19.
The rally, held two days after D.C.’s annual March for Life against abortion, featured prominent lockdown critics such as Dr. Robert Malone, Dr. Peter McCullough, and Dr. Paul Marik. The rally also featured many outside the medical community such as comedian JP Sears, film producer Del Bigtree, and journalist Lara Logan.
Organizers of the march stressed that they are not anti-vaccine, but they are standing against strict regulations pushing vaccination or heavily restricting people and businesses over the spread of COVID-19.
“Now, there’s not a single person here who is against the broad use of vaccines as we use them in our clinical practice,” McCullough said during remarks at the Lincoln Memorial. “We have a circle of medical freedom. You have the freedom, you and you alone have the autonomy over your body.”
McCullough said that allowing the government to infringe on that “circle of medical freedom” would also cripple social and economic rights as well, such as religious freedom and employment.
“Medical freedom is linked to social and economic freedom. If we allow the circle of medical freedom to even be touched, let alone be broken, all the circles fracture. They all do, and it crumbles. The writing is on the wall, and the determination to preserve medical freedom is in your hands,” McCullough said.
— Matthew Miller (@mattmiller757) January 23, 2022
One demonstrator, who came to Washington for the event from Ohio, said that regulations mandating “vaccine passports” for people to enter bars and restaurants was alarming, according to News4.
“We’re pretty concerned about what’s going on,” the anti-mandate protester said. “We came in from out of town and tried to get a burger last night and we got turned away because we didn’t have a proof of vaccination card, and I think that things are going in a pretty scary direction for the community. That’s the first time we had to deal with anything quite like it. All I know is that if I don’t try to do something, I think later on in my life I’d probably be regretting not having stand up and do something.”
Two Russian immigrants to the United States marched at the rally because “we know what it means to feel free,” one told The Daily Signal. “And we know what it feels not to be free. That’s why we’re here.”
She continued, saying the mandates signify “one of the freedoms taken away. Before you know it, all of them are gone.”
“America is all about freedom. That’s why we came here,” the second woman said.
— Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan) January 23, 2022
When The Daily Signal asked another protester what his message would be for President Joe Biden, he answered, “Freedom. We want freedom of our bodies, freedom of our health, and we should have the choice to put into our bodies what we want and decide. And let’s go, Brandon!”
— The Daily Signal (@DailySignal) January 23, 2022
Despite claiming during the 2020 campaign that he would not make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory, Biden has pursued vaccine mandates for federal employees and contractors and health care workers. The president has also ordered that large employers either vaccinate or regularly test their employees for COVID-19.
Many of Biden’s orders are yet to be implemented after being stayed by various federal courts. An order mandating that hospitals vaccinate their workers in order to remain eligible for a number of Medicaid and Medicare programs is still in effect after the Supreme Court declined to stay it earlier this month.